The Wyoming Legislature is back for 40 days in Cheyenne for a budget session. In past years it seems that there have been more bills and time spent on matters other than the budget. It doesn’t look like that will be the case this year with less income received by the state. Developing the budget for the next two years could be painful, as our state government has really grown during our boom years. Now we all get to watch “whose ox gets gored.” The trick is to spread the pain around and not have anyone get too bloody.
The good part is that state government started tightening its belt last year with a 10 percent cut across the board, which was complimented by a hiring freeze. Those actions really helped lessen the pain of these next two years. A conservative thought for the next two years is to not look at the past five years or so as average, which I believe is the way a lot of people have looked at it. I wouldn’t even look at the next two years as below average to avoid spending our “rainy day” accounts. The discussions in Cheyenne will be to spend or not to spend. Who knows, with all that is going on in Washington these days this might be a great year for Wyoming’s income.
One of the issues that we read about in last week’s Roundup was the symbolic move to have the Legislature approve the “Code of the West” as Wyoming’s own. We are all for it symbolically, as it is worthwhile and a great movement for which Wyoming can be recognized. I would venture a guess that one could find the Code being honored in a fishing village in Maine to a farm in Iowa to a lumber mill in Washington. It is a state of mind. I hope no one will take it as a move to legislate morality.
Always remember the quote “whenever we seek to impose responsible behavior through government action, we limit our own freedom.” Even in Wyoming we have the freedom to become a crook, but we choose not to because of our convictions and good judgment. We have been taught it is wrong and have the good common sense to recognize the implications of becoming a crook.
Jokingly, some may view the Code as some would conservation easements. We may not be committed to easements ourselves, but we want all of our neighbors to have one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for both easements and the Code, but both are a personal choice and that decision is based on our freedom. We need both.
Someone said it is discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. If Wyoming wishes to take the lead, we need to support that the time is always right to do what is right.
A good quote to finish with is “what is morally wrong cannot be politically correct.” Along with our neighbors, we all need to honor the Code. Thankfully in Wyoming we take pride is doing so.